Just as all of our customers are individuals, so are our brilliant staff members. This series of blogs is here to introduce you to the kaleidoscope of personalities that makes Magic Beans an extraordinary baby and toy store, and one we hope you’ll return to again and again!
Chelsea Abbott is a longtime Gear Guru, Stroller Matchmaker, and Registry Concierge, and is now helming our Boston store. We asked her a few questions to help you get to know her. Visit her and her crew anytime at Magic Beans Boston in the Prudential Mall!
Q: Tell me a bit about what you do at Magic Beans.
I manage the Boston location! Besides working hands-on with customers on anything and everything for babies, toddlers, and more, I help train my staff to make sure they are always able to help anyone who comes in, from new expectant parents to anyone in need of a cool new toy. I keep things running as smoothly as can be in a baby gear world – an interesting task I am always up for.
Q: Tell me how you got started at Magic Beans, and your trajectory up through the company.
I was hired one week after my 22nd birthday in our Brookline store – 2.5 years ago. I quickly became keyholder, and then a year later, assistant manager to Diana at Magic Beans Brookline. One year after that, here I am!
Q: Describe your training process. What was your favorite part of learning about baby gear and toys?
My job just before Magic Beans was at a children’s consignment shop – I knew very little about the products that were brought in, but would do extensive research on them to help set prices on the consigned items. So when I came to Magic Beans, I dove right into self-training. Within six months of self-training, organized company-wide training, and annoying everyone I worked with, I finally knew all I could know at that moment.
One of my favorite parts about the baby gear world is that it’s constantly changing – laws are changing, technology changes, and we must keep up with it all. I am also fascinated by the safety standards in different countries (particularly infant car seats), compared to ours, and have written a few blogs on the topic.
Q: What do you think makes your Magic Beans store extra-special?
We cater to not only the local Boston kiddos (and parents), but anyone who visits Boston for conventions or meetings, or just to visit this beautiful city from all over the world. The Prudential is the second-tallest building in Boston (I consider it my north star – if I can see the Pru, I can find my home), so people flock to it. Plus, we’re in a mall – rain or shine (or 100+ inches of snow), we’re here!
Q: Let’s get a bit into some autobiographical details: where did you grow up? Are you from Boston? If not, how did you wind up living out here? What do you love about our town?
I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana – a little city in Northeast Indiana, where multiple generations of Abbotts have resided. I loved growing up in the Midwest, but I wanted to live somewhere with a rich history and a real city feel (with public transportation and everything), and I don’t mind the Nor’easters. I fell in love with Boston quickly, and being in love with a boy who went to school here certainly made the process smoother.
Q: What are your hobbies outside of work?
I’m a new cat-mom, so taking care of Fred and watching Netflix takes up most of my time (with aforementioned boy). I also enjoy reading, cooking, falling down a Wikipedia black hole where I can’t stop reading inane articles, and drinking whiskey.
Q: What’s your favorite TV show of all time?
The Simpsons! To say I was raised by The Simpsons isn’t an over exaggeration. My dad taped every episode ever (the first two seasons were on Beta, no less), so when my older sister would watch me, she’d pop in a tape and go upstairs to talk to her friends on the phone. I’ve been binge watching for 24 years. I still watch it almost daily (the first 9 seasons are on constant rotation, much to the annoyance of everyone around me). But right now, I just finished season 1 of Jane the Virgin, am totally enthralled with this second season of Fargo, and just started re-watching Scrubs. I really love TV.
Q: Do you have any special babies or kids among your family or friends who inspire you at your work?
I’ve been an aunt since I was 4 (no lie!), so I’ve always had kids or babies around me (I am also the youngest grandkid on my dad’s side and second on my mom’s – by the time I came around, my cousins were having babies and those babies are all the same age as me). My oldest nephew will be 20 in February (yikes!), and my youngest was born in August. I’ve got a 9 year old niece and a 6 year old nephew thrown in there as well – all of them have given me inspiration or personal testimony which I try to use daily!
Q: Let’s talk about your favorite products: what’s your favorite stroller at Magic Beans?
The Bugaboo Buffalo – hands down (okay hand slightly up for the BOB Revolution FLEX but I’ll get to that). It’s extremely durable, easy to push, has a large basket, comes with a bassinet, and comes with the Bugaboo name so you know it’s high-quality, ethically made, and will last you as long as you need it to.
If the BOB had a bassinet option (or even a Maxi Cosi option, c’mon BOB!), it would be my #1. It, like the Buffalo, is highly durable, easy to push, and will last you forever. And the price (wolf whistle), it’s a dream.
Q: What other baby gear do you always recommend to new and expectant parents?
It’s brand new, but I love the NailFrida (by the company who makes the NoseFrida – you know the one I’m talking about). It’s scissor-shaped so no more sharp edges, and best of all, it has a little peek-a-boo window so you can actually see what you’re cutting. Cutting a baby’s nails is hard (and really weird), so anything that makes that process easier is amazing. And the Zoli Bunny Teether is a no-brainer – two sides that go far back enough to reach those molars, but not far back enough to cause choking: A+.
Q: What are your go-to toys to recommend for customers shopping for birthday presents?
Depends on the age! For one-year-olds, anything with wheels will be a big hit – boy or girl. My first stop is always Green Toys: not only are they ethical and durable, but they also make awesome beach toys. You can’t live in New England and not go to the beach at least once each summer. So anything that can do double duty, and not make the parents go crazy (shout out to all you no-battery parents!) is where I wanna start.
Q: What toy at our stores would you have been begging for as a little kid?
Calico Critters! So many people I worked with here (both co-workers and customers) had them in the 80s, but I had never heard of them before working at Magic Beans. It looks like they were under a different name (Sylvianan Families) until 1993. ANYWHO I loved miniature things. I was obsessed with my sister’s Polly Pocket (the pocket size version), and when the Mattel 3-inch version came out, I was all over that. I wish I could say I was interested in STEM as a kid, but nope, I was all about pretend play with dolls, dishes/fake food, dress up, etc. I was better at my imagination than I was at science or math (still true).
Q: What’s your favorite thing about working for Magic Beans?
Helping new parents navigate the baby gear world is so rewarding. It’s a big scary baby gear world, with lots of different choices and opinions constantly being thrown at you. I like to make my store a judgment-free zone, breastfeed or bottle feed, use a stroller or a carrier – it doesn’t matter, it’s whatever works best for you! Whatever I can do to help make your life a little bit easier is the goal, and having someone trust you enough to help you during this time is awesome to say the least.
And getting to know customers on a first name basis, and having them bring in their little one after I helped them when they were pregnant is one of the coolest feelings. I helped pick out the stroller you’re in, little dude!